Easing Application Integration

IBM, Quantum AI ramp up new EAI offerings.

As IBM rolled out new enterprise application integration products last week that work with its high-profile middleware, startup Quantum AI Corp. readied its own EAI software offering that leverages middleware from IBM and other big developers.

The goal of both companies is to better meet enterprises needs for connecting disparate applications and technologies and automating business processes.

"What we see is businesses around the world are obsessed with integration," said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive of IBMs Software Group, at IBMs Integration Media Day here. "Businesses are having to deal with integration challenges that come in a variety of forms—how do institutions work together, how do people work together, how do processes connect and all the process flows associated with that."

To that end, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., announced 11 new WebSphere Integration Adapters focused on four industries—health care, energy and utilities, automotive, and electronics. These adapters will be available next month.

The adapters can be used to connect and automate business processes among applications, mainframe products, e-business architectures, technology protocols and trading partners, IBM officials said.

New adapters are for, among others, IndusConnect Framework, Maximo Software Inc.s Enterprise Adapter, QAD Inc.s MFG/PRO, Component Object Model, CORBA, Microsoft Corp.s Exchange, Lotus Domino and IBMs iSeries.

Separately, IBM business partners have developed 300 WebSphere adapters of their own, IBM officials said.

IBM also announced a new version of its WebSphere MQ Extended Security Edition. Version 3.5 adds security capabilities from IBMs Tivoli Access Manager product to provide a secure messaging environment for exchanging information across multiple platforms.

Meanwhile, Quantum AI, of Old Bridge, N.J., next month will begin beta testing QuSystem, software that enables corporate developers to integrate any data type and stream it across any platform, officials said.

QuSystem includes two key components: QuCore, which provides a shared memory infrastructure and queuing engine that can connect events within a single machine; and QuComm, a communications engine that connects data across networks. The software, which will be generally available in the fourth quarter, doesnt have its own application server or messaging bus but piggybacks on third-party instances of those technologies, including IBMs WebSphere and MQ Series and BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic and Tuxedo.

"We seamlessly tie them together ... through transformations," said Quantum AI President Richard Fiorella. "Weve extracted data from its presentation ... added a layer on top that provides generalized presentation ... [and we provide] a transformation engine that allows us to coalesce many streams of data."

Many distributed businesses plan to keep their distributed IT infrastructures and need integration software to do so.

Mike Sutten, vice president of IT development at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Celebrity Cruises Inc., based in Miramar, Fla., uses WebSphere Business Integration to connect enterprise applications such as Siebel Systems Inc.s Call Center applications and J.D. Edwards & Co.s OneWorld supply chain management software.

All told, RCCL has 112 systems with 4,950 interfaces. In fact, each of the companys 25 cruise liners serves as a separate business unit. WebSphere Business Integration acts as the glue to connect these systems and make it easier to build interfaces among them. The benefits include cost savings and increased customer satisfaction, Sutten said.

"We have no desire or strategy to have a homogeneous [application] environment," Sutten said.